Aviation's Tool Control Goes Shipwide

Story Number: NNS060707-08Release Date: 7/7/2006 11:32:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Anthony Pickett, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) has started applying the tool control program, formerly only used in the aviation community, shipwide in an effort to reduce the cost and manpower wasted on missing tools.

Up until now, the surface community hasn't had a universal standard to organize and keep track of tools. Capt. James P. Gigliotti, Truman's commanding officer, is determined to change that.

The way tools are maintained in the surface world has been frustrating because of the lack of organization and the lack of accountability, Gigliotti said.

"I was tired of walking down into spaces and seeing shoddily maintained tool boxes, hearing about people who couldn't get [Planned Maintenance System checks] done because they couldn't find the right tools, and hearing about all the money we were spending on tools that either got lost, broken or walked off the ship in someone's pocket because nobody knew who was using them or where they were," he said. "In aviation, we know exactly where they are because the job is not done until the tools are all accounted for."

For different work centers, the details of tool control can vary depending on the needs and parts the shop uses, but usually the basics remain the same.

"In the aviation tool control program, you open up your tool box and inside you have a gray foam liner that has a silhouette for each of your tools, so you know what is supposed to be in the box and where every tool needs to go," said Aviation Electrician 1st Class (AW) Michael Mihalic, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) tool control coordinator.

Also, every toolbox comes with a log to sign tools in and out to bolster accountability and a log, similar to a Compartment Check Off List, of every tool that can be found in the box and where they are located, Mihalic added.

The new streamlined process will save considerable manpower and money by reducing the time it takes to find the tools that a technician needs for a particular project and by reducing the number of tools that are lost and need to be replaced, said Gigliotti.

A team of tool control experts from AIMD has already begun helping Engineering and Reactor departments implement the program.

The first thing the team does is provide education, particularly regarding expected time and cost savings, and the safety benefits of the program. The team then trains shop personnel on the processes of accounting for tools, setting up a check-in, check-out system, and ordering the right tools. From there, the departments train their Sailors until everyone is on board, said Mihalic.

"Soon it will begin to trickle down into the other departments," said Gigliotti. "The entire program will be completed sometime in the fall before we get out of the yards."

"There are going to be some walls to break down; there is always resistance to change, but once everyone sees how well it is already working in designated divisions, how simple it is to employ, and the cost advantages, then they will realize that a robust tool control program is the right way to go," he added.

A few other obstacles the ship is working to overcome are getting all the right equipment, training people, and getting the right instructions and organizational systems in place.

"It's going to make everybody's life a lot easier. It's the right way to go, it's the way we have to go. No other ship I know of is doing this ... Harry S. Truman may be leading the way for the rest of the Navy," said Gigliotti.

Harry S. Truman is currently conducting a Dry-docked Planned Incremental Availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and is scheduled to return to sea later this year.

For related news, visit the Truman Web site at www.nol.navy.mil/homepages/cvn75.

For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.

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